Kukla's Korner

Above the Glass

What is it about playoffs?

Tuesday night, the Portland Winterhawks set a blitz of new records and racked up a whole scoresheet full of new stats: two players scored two shorthanded goals in one period exactly 33 seconds apart, Brad Ross scored four goals and Taylor Peters racked up all three of his assists on shorthanded goals. But alas, what went up came back down as they fell to a more desperate Kamloops Blazers team 5-4. For my part, I didn’t really need a few more lines or my face or more gray hairs. And I certainly didn’t need a friend telling me this morning that I should chill out because “it’s just a game.” We all know it’s much more than that and playoffs are even bigger; the question of the day is why. If hockey’s just a game and playoffs don’t matter, then how come I just aged about 10 years last night?

I think this might have something to do with it:

Playoffs are played the way we should live life: Out loud, straight up and in your face. Not that the regular season isn’t, but when it comes down to go to the Stanley Cup final or go book tee times, it gets louder and more in your face. I think that’s why everything else in life gets quieter and seems more tolerable: because playoff hockey gives us something to live for that magically makes the rest of life’s B.S. worth tolerating. And every time we tune into a playoff game, we are reminded of how to live life the right way.

It all matters: It would be nice if every moment in life was as desperate (in a good way) and passionate as every moment in playoffs, but we all know it isn’t. That’s why I try to make even the less passionate moments count for something. Much of this blog, for example, is often multitasked during death by PowerPoint meetings where I would otherwise experience a boredom-induced near-death experience. On Wednesday night, the Kamloops Blazers were near a death of sorts when down 3-0 in the series and down 4-0 in the first period, they made a little moment with a lucky bounce count, and et voila, they were on their way back from the brink. The same is true of life; you have to make the lucky bounces count or they’ll bounce right by in someone else’s favor.

There’s literally no tomorrow: Because for one team in a playoff series, when all is said and done, there won’t be. It’s sad to say, but the same is true of life. You never know when your number is up in life either. Playoffs are an annual reminder to live each and every day like it’s a Game 7 game day. And that includes game day naps. I mean really, who works between 3 and 5 in the afternoon anyway?

Go big or go home: In playoffs of any sport, when you go halfway, you go home. The same is true of life. Not counting unforeseen life changes that force you to take a different path, if you settle for second best when something better is within reach, then you get what you settle for. 

The future is now: In the playoffs, everything is right here, right now. And so it will be for the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday, when the right here will be a hopefully sold out Rose Garden.  Thanks to Wednesday’s loss, on Saturday night, hockey and life will be one and the same: bigger, louder and right in your face. Just like they should be.

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com